When Can a Memorial be Erected on a Grave?

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When Can a Memorial be Erected on a Grave?Many people choose to place memorials on the graves of their loved ones. Memorials are a way of marking a grave and enable you to leave a personalised tribute to the person that has been buried there. There are many questions surrounding the time in which a memorial can be erected on a grave. This is something that we are going to answer in this article, along with other related questions.

What is a memorial?

A memorial is classed as anything that is placed on a grave as a tribute that sits above the level of the ground. The most common memorials are headstones, vases and plaques. Some people also like to use sculptures as memorials instead of a traditional headstone.

When can memorial be erected?

Individuals cemeteries will have their own rules concerning when a memorial can be erected on a grave. In most cases, after a funeral the grave will be covered with earth and flowers and wreaths will be placed on top. Whilst the ground is still settling many cemeteries allow you to erect a temporary memorial such as a wooden cross. You can apply to the Cemetery Office immediately to have a memorial erected, but it will usually take around six months as it is important that the ground has been given enough time to settle.

Cemeteries using concrete foundations will allow you to erect a memorial much more quickly (in most cases this will be almost immediately). The time period differs from cemetery to cemetery due to the different types of soil conditions.

Maintaining a memorial

Although it is the Burial Authority’s responsibility to keep the cemetery safe, it is your responsibility as the owner or the memorial to maintain it. It is essential that you regularly check the memorial to ensure that it is in a safe condition. Cemetery staff are within their rights to carry out routine inspections of memorials. If they find that your memorial is damaged or is a safety hazard they will either set up temporary support or lay it flat. They will then inform you in writing that you need to have the grave repaired in order to make it safe. If you fail to have your memorial repaired, you may not be allowed to erect a new memorial in the future.

Insuring your memorial

It is recommended that you insure your memorial in case it gets damaged or becomes unsafe and requires expensive repairs. Unfortunately cemeteries sometimes suffer from acts of vandalism and many memorials require repairs. Most graveyards will not be held liable for the damage, which is why it is essential that you have taken out insurance so that you can have your memorial repaired immediately.


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Tom Reynolds works in the marketing department of Memorials of Distinction - a family run stonemasons and sculptors business based in the UK. Tom has a wealth of experience in funeral planning....